It was a few minutes before either of us could speak out loud. We’d been accosted by a woman and her three children – in a very good way. She wiped away tears and grabbed my wife and hugged her tight and told the three children what we were delivering and they each gave us hugs and courteous thank-yous.

We had just handed over their delivery: a bag with a couple presents for each child and some extras, a sack of potatoes, a box of food and a turkey – enough food for a decent Christmas dinner and enough to feed those hungry kids for a week or so.

It was just a slightly more dramatic interaction than at the other three drop-offs we made. You could tell – there was no doubt whatsoever – this was a woman who cared about taking care of her kids, had been wondering how she’d do it, and we were delivering a blessing. 

We knew by the circumstances that the recipients were living in that we were making a real difference ... maybe for only a week of their lives, but something real and tangible and meaningful.

And because of that woman with her tears and hugs, we understand better than ever that the SoYouCan deliveries aren’t just about the recipients. They’re all about the people making the deliveries, too. (SoYouCan is the grassroots organization that collects goods and makes a few hundred deliveries around the area the Saturday before Christmas. We love this program and we hope it continues to thrive and grow and is copied across the river and into the hills.)

Through this program, we learn to appreciate the circumstances of others, we learn the awards of being appreciated, we learn to help and to be helpful, we learn to talk to people whose situations and lives and cultures are very different from us and ours. We become better citizens. 

We finished up our route Saturday and headed over to Duke’s for a late breakfast ... we talked a little about the people we’d seen and about that woman and her three little kids and how the outburst of tears and humility and appreciation ... well, we won’t forget them. We learned a little more about living.

It might just be us, but we feel like the number of groups dedicated to helping other people around the holidays has grown in recent years. We’ve been on the lookout for groups doing special good deeds the last few years. Maybe that’s having some effect ... there are so many good things happening we can’t keep up with them. And we apologize to all the groups who didn’t make it into our paper ... we’ll try next year and you’re very welcome to submit photos and write-ups and letters of thanks for our weekly Family & Friends section.

But we’d most like to think that the do-good corps is expanding because people are hungry for something good to do – picking up trash, sponsoring a free meal, collecting toys and clothing for homeless kids, delivering Christmas toys and turkeys and food, or whatever. Oddly, we theorize, it might partly be a reaction to the great divide that we live with these days. So much of the time we’re engaged in being mad, indignant, disgusted, and intolerant of other people that it begins to alarm us and we react by looking for something good to do. We’re more likely to do something nice, perhaps. And maybe sooner or later we’ll learn to say something nice, as well.

Just a theory.


(This Our View was written by Editor Steve Miller for the Appeal.)

Our View editorials represent the opinion of the Appeal–Democrat and its editorial board and are edited by the publisher and/or editor. Members of the editorial board include: Publisher Glenn Stifflemire and Editor Steve Miller.

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